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File photo/QNS
File photo/QNS

Myrtle Avenue spans two miles across Ridgewood and Glendale, but there’s one glaring difference between the two neighborhoods along the area’s most popular commercial strip.

In January, dozens of residents spoke out on Facebook when they noticed an increased amount of trash built up along the sidewalks of the Glendale section of the avenue, and there is a deeper explanation than just the average human carelessness.

One of the primary factors is the suspension of the Department of Sanitation’s extra trash basket services during the winter months, said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID).

Thanks to additional funding secured in 2016 by former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Councilman Antonio Reynoso, the Department of Sanitation expanded its services to collect trash more often from the trash baskets along several of Community Board 5’s main roadways, including Myrtle Avenue.

Renz said that this allowed for seven-day-a-week service to Myrtle Avenue’s trash baskets, but during the winter months that service is reduced to accommodate the need for snow removal. The Myrtle Avenue BID is also the reason why the Ridgewood portion of the street has remained cleaner than the Glendale portion. Renz said the BID only covers Ridgewood, and it contracts other employees that sweep the sidewalks daily and collect the sweepings in clear trash bags.

Councilman Robert Holden also confirmed the reduced services when he told QNS that his office had seen the Facebook complaints and looked into the issue. Holden said that the full-time services will resume after March 31, and he hopes to secure even more funding to expand these services past the 39 weeks that were guaranteed under Crowley’s 2017 funding plan.

“We have a lot of commercial districts that aren’t as clean as they used to be, and we need to start addressing this,” Holden said. “I’m a big proponent of keeping the neighborhood nice and clean.”

Holden also emphasized that property owners who see illegal dumping or sidewalks that aren’t clean should always file 311 complaints and report it to his office.

Board 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri said that the advisory body has reached out to the superintendent of the Department of Sanitation after residents came to the board with their complaints.

Still, the biggest responsibility for keeping the sidewalks clean lies on the residents and business owners. According the Department of Sanitation’s cleaning laws, the sidewalks and gutter areas 18 inches from the curb into the street must be kept clean and the sweepings must be picked up and cannot be dumped in Sanitation baskets. Enforcement agents who notice dirty sidewalks and gutters can issue fines from $100 to $300.

The Department of Environmental Protection also prohibits the washing of sidewalks between Nov. 1 and March 31 under its water use restrictions.

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FlipoutNYC February 02, 2018 / 09:05AM
Why blame Sanitation. Why not blame the people who walk around there. We are human, not animals. They should have courtesy to keep the sidewalk clean.
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